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The Delight of Diversity

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Trinity: Week 2

The Delight of Diversity
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One of the most wonderful things I find in the classic naming of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is its affirmation that there is an intrinsic plurality to goodness. Goodness isn’t sameness. Goodness, to be goodness, needs contrast and tension, not perfect uniformity. If Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all God yet clearly different, and we embrace this differentiation, resisting the temptation to blend them into some kind of amorphous blob, then there are at least three shapes to the foundational goodness, truth, and beauty of things.

God’s goal, it seems to me, is the same in creation. It is the making of persons, not the making of a uniform mob, which means there is clear diversity and a kind of open-endedness in all of nature. In other words, heaven is precisely not uniformity. The diversity of heaven was never something I considered in my earlier years. I thought we were all handed the same white robe and standard-issue harp, assigned to an identical cloud for all eternity. But how does Jesus himself deconstruct this big-box, strip-mall, McHeaven franchise? He tells us: “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2).

Even in the eternal nature of things, you’re somehow you in your you-ness, on the path that God is leading you on, the journey you are going through, the burdens that you are bearing. All of these are combining to create the precise alchemy of your soul, your holiness, and your response. In the eternal scheme of things, you discover that all God wants from you is you.

It feels so insignificant, and yet this is the liberating secret: I am precisely the gift God wants—in my full and humble surrender to my ordinariness—which ironically is my eternal specialness. All I can give back to God is who I really and fully am! That is all God wants. Yet this seems so boring and pedestrian to us, if we want to be high flyers.

The Trinity reveals a pattern of perfect freedom whereby each of the Three Persons allows the other Two to be fully themselves and remains in full given-ness toward each of them, while still allowing, protecting, and honoring itself as itself, and forever emptying itself of itself to make room for the other Two. We now have a full definition of the shape of Divine and also human Love.

You can draw perennial wisdom from what I just said for the rest of your life. Indeed, it takes most of our life to realize that it is true.

Gateway to Silence:
Love flows in and out, in and out.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 61-63.

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